Federation of Darlington Nursery Schools

George Dent Nursery School Special Educational Needs Information Report

  1. What types of SEN do we provide for?

As a maintained nursery school we are supported by the local authority to be as inclusive as possible. George Dent Nursery School has a reputation for delivering high quality education and delivering effective support to children with a range of special educational needs and disabilities. Every endeavour is made to ensure that reasonable adjustments are made to provide for the following broad areas of need;

Communication and Interaction

Cognition and Learning

Sensory and Physical Development

Social, Emotional Mental Health

  1. How does the school know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

School staff make continuous observations of all children in our care, both academically and in their wider school lives.  These observations, along with assessment data, may highlight issues or concerns for particular children. 

Where this is the case, in the first instance, your child's key worker will have a conversation with you.  If after that conversation and a sharing of concerns, we agree that further investigation or intervention is required we will meet with the school Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, (SENCo) Helen Dummett and discuss what we can do together.  

Early intervention means doing things as early as possible to support your child’s developmental, health and support needs. It can also provide specialist support should it be required.

You know your child best! If as a parent/carer you have concerns about your child’s learning or development that have not been raised in previous conversations, please arrange to meet with either the key worker or the SENCo. 

  1. How will school staff support my child?

It is important to us that we create a culture where all children feel welcomed, accepted, safe and valued and where parents and carers feel confident that they will get the right support,to help their child develop their talents and achieve their goals.

In the first instance, if additional support is required, a support plan or individual health care plan (in the case of a specific medical need or disability) will be created with the consent of the family.  Staff, parents and children work together to create the support plan, which details the child’s particular strengths, identifies their needs or areas for development and longer term outcomes. Short term targets are established, along with how the school, the family and additional professionals will help your child to achieve these targets. These targets are reviewed at the end of each half term.

If at any point it is felt that your child requires more intensive support, longer term care, or that your child receives advice and support from a number of professionals, then it may be necessary to complete a One Plan. This document is more comprehensive than a support plan and helps to coordinate additional support. The One Plan belongs to the child and family and will be reviewed on a termly basis. 

Additional support can take many forms.  It may be that particular aids are needed or access to relevant therapies (for example, Speech and Language Therapy or Occupational Therapy).  It could also be that with your consent other professionals may become involved (e.g. Educational Psychology or a consultant Paediatrician).  In some cases, an additional adult may be required to support children directly in class. 

After reviewing the One Plan, it may be felt that a child’s needs are long term or will need additional funding to be met in school.  If this is the case, then the SENCo – in consultation with parents – will apply to the Early Years Inclusion Fund requesting funding to meet the identified learning needs. 

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Governor plays a vital role in ensuring that SEND stays on the governing body agenda and for providing a link between the governing body, its committees and the staff with regards to Special Educational Needs.

The Governor for Special Educational Needs at George Dent Nursery School is Cheryl Theakston. She makes every effort to see that the necessary special arrangements are made for pupils with SEN. This includes making all staff who are likely to teach these pupils aware of those needs by;

  • asking questions and liaising with Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) Helen Dummett about the current policy and practice in SEND;
  • monitoring the progress and effectiveness of the governing body’s policy on SEND;
  • monitoring the deployment of resources allocated to SEND;
  • monitoring the effectiveness of communication with parents.

  1. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

Inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy which recognises the child as strong, capable and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge. We have adopted a child-led approach to planning a curriculum that meets the needs of the ‘unique’ child. We believe in making every moment count, in children ‘gently’ learning to appreciate the ‘magic’ of the natural world. Our teachers and early years’ practitioners are trained to observe children’s needs and interests, and reflect on developmentally appropriate ways to help children expand their academic and social potentials.

This approach is part of Quality First Teaching. This is where delivery or tasks set are adjusted to suit your child’s learning style or needs. For instance, a child with a visual impairment may require larger visual aids, but not necessarily easier tasks. A child with developmental delay, may require tasks set that are at the child’s stage of learning rather than age-appropriate.  It may also be that a child struggles with auditory learning and requires visual prompts to support them. 

As no two children are the same, it is important to ensure that individual barriers to learning are considered when adapting any aspect of the early years curriculum, providing resources or delivering information.

In addition to the whole school curriculum, individuals may require programmes of Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy to be delivered.   

  1. How will I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?

There are three progress meetings half way through each term each year. In addition if your child has a One Plan, this will be reviewed typically every ten weeks. This means that your child’s progress is reviewed at least six times a year with you.  We operate an ‘open door’ policy and parents are encouraged to speak to key workers or the SENCo to discuss any issues or concerns as they arise. Key workers are the first point of contact and they will liaise with the SENCo where appropriate.  

We have a superb track record for helping children to attain well. This is only made possible because of parental involvement.

  1. What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?

Medical support is coordinated by your child's Health Visitor. There is a detailed policy on the Administration of Medicines available on request. Personal care, would be described as part of the SEND package if required regularly. Occasional needs are met through well trained staff and a well-equipped school.

  1. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

We have close and effective links with a range of additional advisory agencies to support us in addressing children’s needs. If further advice and support is required Helen Dummett will make a referral, with parental permission, to an appropriate outside agency or service. These include:

  • Early Years Inclusion Team
  • Low Incidence Needs Team (LINs) which includes children with visual and hearing impairments as well as those with physical and multi-sensory needs.
  • Speech and Language therapy provided by the NHS
  • School Nurse and Health Visitors
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Children’s Services
  • Special Educational Needs Advisory Service.
  • Educational Psychologist
  • Early Help Assessment

  1. What training are the staff supporting children with SEND had or are having?

All staff are expected to continue their professional development and are trained internally by the SENCo or visiting external professionals. Our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator as well as being Executive Head Teacher and Designated Safeguarding Lead also holds the National SENDCo Award.

Where there is an identified special need, the staff working with this child may be asked to attend specific training sessions such as PECs, TEACCH, Makaton, visual and hearing impairment training and includes training in the use of electronic devices, moving and handling, fine motor and gross motor skills programmes, speech and language and behaviour. In addition staff may be required to undertake additional training to support children with medical needs and/or allergies such as diabetic training, peg feeding and epipen training. This training is updated annually. 

Additional teaching assistants are trained to support the particular needs of the children they work with and have been trained to support children on the Autism Spectrum.

  1. How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?

There are no barriers to inclusion. When planning trips for children, individual needs are fully and carefully considered. 

  1. How accessible is the school environment?

The ground floor of the school is fully accessible, but it is not adapted for visual or auditory impaired children. There are disabled changing and toilet facilities. An Accessibility Plan is in place and updated every 3 years

  1. How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school or to transfer to a new school or the next stage of education and life?

Any child identified with a One Plan will have a transition review the term before the transfer, which will be attended by adults currently working with the child and representation from the receiving school. 

These reviews are important information sharing meetings. Where individual needs require amended transition arrangements, these are put in place.

  1. How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs? How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

Every child’s needs are different. The resources needed can be provided through statutory provision or from the school's own revenue. However, as far as possible, the needs and the resources are matched.

  1. How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your provision, including securing feedback and the views of pupils and their parents.

The SEND Code of Practice (2014) describes adequate progress that:

  • Is similar to that of children of the same age who had the same starting point
  • Matches or improves on the pupil’s previous rate of progress
  • Allows the attainment gap to close between the pupil and children of the same age

Even with equal access and despite everyone’s best efforts, children do not proceed, progress or attain equally. However, as a result of good planning, assessment and scaffolded targets most SEND pupils do achieve challenging targets and make good to better progress.

The effectiveness of the school’s provision for pupils with SEND is evaluated through the school's ongoing monitoring cycle by the Senior Leadership Team and Governors. This includes:

  • Collection of pupil progress data for every child,every term, which is then scrutinised.
  • Analysis of entry and exit data against Local Authority data.
  • Parents/Carers and children are involved in reviewing progress half-termly through the SEND review meetings and the Child’s View Form.
  • Learning walks
  • Performance management
  • Lesson Observations
  • Parental Questionnaires.


  1. Who can I contact for further information?

Your child’s key worker will usually be your first point of contact.

Additional advice can be obtained from the SENCo, Helen Dummett (01325 380802) however this may require an appointment. 

Information about Darlington’s Local Offer can be accessed via https://livingwell.darlington.gov.uk/Information/localoffer

Outside of school there are many charities supporting children. 

Darlington IASS

Offers impartial information, advice and support to parents/carers of children with SEND and to children and young people with SEND.

Telephone: 01325 405878





Together for Better (Darlington Parent Carer Forum)

Darlington Parent Carer Forum (DPCF) is a parent led Forum for parents and carers of children and young people with Special Educational Needs  and disabled children and young people. Contact: 01325 254848

SEND Information, Advice and Support Service

A service which supports parents/carers of children who have or may have special educational needs. Contact: 01325 405878

National Autistic Society

UK charity for autistic people (including those with Asperger syndrome) and their families. 0808 800 4104 (Helpline)

Darlington Association on Disability (DAD)

An organisation led by disabled people, which exists to promote independence and choice. DAD supports disabled people, including children and carers through the provision of services, support and information and by tackling issues affecting disabled people, both locally and nationally. DAD can provide Independent Support to young people and families in Darlington going through the Education, Health and Care Plan process. Contact: 01325 489999 Email: mail@darlingtondisability.org Website: http://www.darlingtondisability.org

Daisy Chain

Daisy Chain is a unique charity, based in Norton, Stockton-On-Tees, which exists to support families affected by Autism Spectrum Conditions, living within postcodes TS and DL. Contact: 01642 531248

Health Visiting Service

Health visiting teams provide a service to all families with children up to the age of five years. Contact: 03000030013

  1. How do we handle complaints from parents of children with SEN about provision made at the school?

The school works, wherever possible in partnership with parents to ensure that a collaborative approach to meeting children’s needs. All complaints are taken seriously and are heard through the School’s complaints policy and procedure. Please see website for details.